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Tamil Muslims seek quota benefits recommended by panels


Chennai : Tamil Muslims have appealed to the central government to accept the recommendations of the Justice Ranganathan Mishra committee on reservation in jobs and educational institutions for minorities.

The Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK), an umbrella group for 1.7 million Tamil Muslims, also urged the government to provide "constitutional safeguards" that will ensure that "the fixing of ceiling on reservation is best left to the state governments".

In a memorandum congratulating Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on successfully completing three years in power, the group lauded the efforts of the Mishra panel as well as the Rajendar Sachar Committee, on the "educational, economical and social status of Muslims of India".

The Mishra panel has provided for a sub-quota of six percent within the 27 percent Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota in elite educational institutions for Muslims, and 10 percent reservation in all job posts in central and state governments for Muslims.

"We appeal that the government led by you should accept these recommendations in toto and immediate steps be taken for its implementation," TMMK leader M.H. Jawahirullah said in the memo.

The 69 percent reservation in educational institutions by the Tamil Nadu government has been challenged in the court. "We appeal that urgent measures be initiated by the UPA government to ensure that the jurisdiction of courts from adjudicating on this issue is taken away," it said.

The government has decided to implement certain recommendations of the Justice Rajendar Sachar Committee including one that says the backwardness among Muslims is more or less at the same level of backwardness of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in India.

The TMMK says that the number and total outlay of the scholarship to Muslims should match the level granted to comparable SC/ST communities.

"Instead of setting up another panel, as recommended, to raise the educational skills of the Muslims, the government should ensure that all school-deficit Muslim areas should be provided with schools and IITs, in accordance with the national norms, in the next two years," the TMMK said.

Similarly educational institutions established by Muslims should be provided grant in aid by the government, it said.

It says, the government must allot at least Rs.35 billion in the 11th Plan (2007-12) for Muslim entrepreneurship training, skills upgradation and certification and provide political representation to Muslims from local bodies up to parliament.

The Sachar Committee has suggested that innovative measures be undertaken to ensure proper representation for Muslims in the decision-making bodies. "We appeal that your government initiate the process of installing suitable mechanisms which would ensure proper representation of Muslims in the elected bodies," the TMMK told the prime minister.